U.S. Airlines October 2020 Passengers Decreased 62% from October 2019

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U.S. Airline Performance Trends

U.S. airlines carried 62% fewer scheduled service passengers in October 2020 than in October 2019 (preliminary), according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 22 airlines that carry more than 90% of the passengers. The 62% decline from October 2019 was the smallest year-to-year decrease since March.

Graph - U.S. Airline Performance Trends

U.S. Airlines October 2020 Passengers Decreased 62% from October 2019

Bureau of Transportation Statistics;

U.S. airlines carried 62% fewer scheduled service passengers in October 2020 than in October 2019 (preliminary), according to data filed with the Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) by 22 airlines that carry more than 90% of the passengers. The 62% decline from October 2019 was the smallest year-to-year decrease since March.

The large airlines carried 29.9 million passengers in October 2020 (preliminary), compared to 78.3 million passengers in October 2019 and up from 3.0 million in April 2020, which was the lowest monthly total in BTS records dating back to 1974. The previous low was 14.6 million passengers in February 1975.

Preliminary October 2020 passenger numbers (22 carriers reporting):

Total: 29.9 million passengers, down 62% from October 2019 (78.3M) Domestic: 27.9M passengers, down 60% from October 2019 (69.6M) International: 2.0M passengers, down 77% from October 2019 (8.7M)

U.S. airline traffic reports are filed monthly with BTS. Final October data will be released on Jan. 15.  Complete international data by origin and destination, which is under a six-month confidentiality restriction, will be released on April 15.

Systemwide Passengers

October 2020 passengers: 29.9M

Change from October 2019: -62%

Percent of 2019 passengers: 38%

Change from April 2020 low: +27M passengers

Table 1: Systemwide Percent Change in US Airlines Scheduled Service Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year, 2016-2020

 2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January 3.0 2.9 4.0 5.6
February -0.2 5.7 3.0 6.7
March 3.4 4.6 5.1 -51.3
April 4.5 4.8 3.8 -96.1
May 3.0 4.9 5.2 -89.6
June 3.4 5.0 3.7 -80.3
July 3.8 5.2 3.6 -72.4
August 5.0 5.0 3.4 -69.8
September -2.3 5.8 5.7 -65.2
October 4.6 3.9 4.1 -61.8*
November 4.6 4.5 0.5  
December 3.5 3.6 8.8  
Annual 3.1 4.7 4.2  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Market

* October 2020 data is preliminary

Domestic Passengers

October 2020 passengers: 27.9M

Change from October 2019: -60%

Percent of 2019 passengers: 40%

Change from April 2020 low: +25M passengers

Domestic percent of total October 2020 passengers: 93%

Domestic percent of total October 2019 passengers: 89%

Table 2: Domestic Percent Change in US Airlines Scheduled Service Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year, 2016-2020

Year-to-Year Percent Change

 2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January 3.1 3.2 3.9 6.2
February -0.1 5.9 3.0 7.4
March 3.8 4.2 5.4 -51.0
April 3.7 5.7 3.7 -95.7
May 2.7 5.3 5.2 -88.5
June 3.1 5.3 3.6 -77.9
July 3.7 5.8 3.8 -69.6
August 5.0 5.5 3.4 -67.1
September -2.5 5.8 5.8 -62.7
October 4.7 3.8 4.2 -59.9*
November 4.5 4.4 0.2  
December 3.7 3.7 9.5  
Annual 3.0 4.9 4.3  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 Domestic Market

* October 2020 data is preliminary

International Passengers

October 2020 passengers: 2.0M

Change from October 2019: -77%

Percent of 2019 passengers: 23%

Change from April 2020 low: +1.8M passengers

International percent of total October 2020 passengers: 7%

International percent of total October 2019 passengers: 11%

Table 3: International Percent Change in US Airlines Scheduled Service Passengers from the Same Month of the Previous Year, 2016-2020

Year-to-Year Percent Change

 2016-20172017-20182018-20192019-2020
January 2.1 1.0 4.5 1.9
February -1.2 4.6 3.4 0.7
March 0.4 7.2 3.1 -53.3
April 9.8 -1.0 4.3 -98.6
May 5.4 2.3 5.3 -98.1
June 5.3 3.4 4.2 -96.4
July 4.6 1.6 2.2 -90.4
August 4.9 2.0 3.9 -87.5
September -1.1 5.9 4.6 -83.7
October 3.2 4.3 3.2 -77.3*
November 5.4 4.7 2.2  
December 1.7 3.2 3.6  
Annual 3.5 3.1 3.8  

Source: Bureau of Transportation Statistics, T-100 International Market

* October 2020 data is preliminary

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